Is Milk Really Good for Your Child’s Teeth?

The simple answer is yes! But some parents have heard differently – so why the confusion?

Calcium is a necessary component for building strong teeth and bones, after all, your teeth and bones store 99% of your body’s calcium. A baby’s teeth begin to form while in the womb and for this reason a pregnant mother should be taking the recommended daily allowance of calcium. Then, from infancy and through the teen years, calcium intake continues to be a key element for healthy growth and development.

So, is milk good for your child’s teeth? The simple answer is yes! But some parents have heard differently – so why the confusion?

Is Milk Good for Your Child’s Teeth?

Milk is good for your child’s teeth because it contains important nutrients needed by the bones and teeth. Milk naturally has calcium and phosphate, two compounds that harden the tooth enamel and protect your child’s teeth from cavities.

Giving your child milk and other foods rich in calcium, like oranges, yogurt, canned sardines (bones included,) beans, spinach, soy milk, etc. will ensure that he or she receives the recommended calcium intake. Be careful about giving them an extra dose of calcium, as excess is just as bad as a lack of calcium. Calcium enriched products should only be given when the doctor recommends it based on blood tests that show a need for extra calcium into the body.

It Depends on Certain Circumstances

Milk itself is very good and necessary to create strong teeth but it can cause negative results depending on certain circumstances. For instance, milk is not good for your child’s teeth if it lingers over the night in your child’s mouth, or if it contains sugar and other additives.

If you are used to giving your child milk in a sippy-cup or baby bottle before bedtime to make them fall asleep more easily, stop this habit as soon a possible. Even when the milk is simple and does not contain any added sugar, it still has naturally occurring sugars that will attack the tooth enamel if the child doesn’t brush their teeth before sleep. With bottle-fed babies, this phenomenon is actually well-known as “bottle cavities.” There is a common misconception that breastfed babies also get cavities because of nursing before bedtime, but studies show that breast milk protects against cavities and nursing doesn’t let the milk linger in the mouth.

So, giving your child milk to drink will make their teeth stronger, will protect their tooth enamel, and will strengthen their jaw bone. However, it really comes down to when you let them drink the milk. However, the same is true for any type of drink other than water. Giving your child a sippy-cup or bottle with milk, juice, or formula can cause tooth decay if they drink it to go to bed without brushing their teeth.

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Updated: February 2, 2022

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